Do I Need a Permit for a Pergola in Melbourne?

In this blog post we are going to answer a very commonly asked question. This question is ‘Do I need a Permit to build a pergola in Melbourne?’.

Of course, all councils and shires differ but in this post we are going to go over a lot of the common factors that would require you to obtain a permit before having a pergola built and whether you even need one. We’re also going to explain how you can get one.

Obtaining a building permit for a pergola can be a very difficult and frustrating process, if not done correctly it can result in a lot of money and time wasted. If all of the information and processes explained below sound like it’s all too much work, just leave it to us. At Undercover Concepts we can organise building permits for the pergolas we build.

Please note: Building a pergola without obtaining a permit when one is required can result in you having to remove the pergola and be potentially liable for fines through your council. It is best to obtain a permit if your council requires one for your pergola. We have come across many jobs where we have had to rebuild pergolas and obtain permits because one was not obtained when the pergola was originally built.

In this article, we can’t cover every single council because they all have different rules and regulations for pergolas and when permits are required. In light of this, we are just going to cover some of the more common regulations that state whether a permit is required or not before building a pergola.


Usually a council will state that a permit is required if the pergola to be built will be:

  • Over a certain size that they specify (area = width x length). As an example: A pergola over 25 square metres may require a permit.
  • Will be above a certain percentage of the existing dwelling (the home). As an example: A pergola that is 15% of your home size may require a permit.
  • Will be above a certain height.
  • Built over an easement or other infrastructure such as drainage, electrical or communications.
  • Some councils may even require a permit regardless of the size of the pergola.


You can usually find out whether you would need a permit or not for your pergola by visiting your councils website or contacting them.


If you have found that you will require a permit for your pergola, the next step is deciding whether you hire someone to obtain the permit or you do it yourself. Obtaining a permit yourself without the relevant experience can be a difficult and lengthy process and usually involves the following:

  • Engineered drawing plans of the pergola and how it will attach to the existing dwelling (your house). These plans need to be fairly detailed and show the plans for your pergola in detail. The plans would show the size of the pergola (width, height and length), the materials to be used to build the pergola, how it would anchor to the house and any drainage/plumbing for the pergola would also need to be shown. Often load and wind factors would also need to be taken into consideration.
  • Once you have those drawings, these would need to be sent off with your permit application to your council/shire.
  • Along with this paperwork, usually a fee would need to be paid to the council. If you are hiring someone to obtain the permit for you such as a builder, you would most likely have to pay for their time/fee also.


If you are looking for someone to handle this whole process for you effortlessly and painlessly, we can definitely help. Please contact us to talk about obtaining a permit for a pergola. At Undercover Concepts we can do everything from start to finish when it comes to building your pergola.